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GrandNonna

Update on Grandparent Visitation Law IL

58 posts in this topic

Hello All ,

I have been on quite a journey regarding the law on visitation and have good news and not so good news. I  found out through my state that the law has serious constitutional issues , and that the language will be re written .The bad news - it won't happen until the spring. My source of communication is a chief legal individual who was not in office in 2015 when the law was changed regarding children born out of wedlock . I have written to a Senator referencing burden of proof criteria that falls upon a Grandparent , which suggests evidence of emotional psychological or physical harm to one self ( the child) if the relationship is severed ( I call that abuse ) left to happen and yet to be heard of . This section will be changed. 

Paternity - A fit parent would normally file for legal parentage . Some parents won't if they know that by doing so , allows a grandparent right ti petition. This law will be changed and I am hoping it goes back to as it was in 2014 whereas paternity has not been established in a court of law a grandparent may file . I cannot share the emails with you due to ethical reasons but I want to all to know that I am still banging on doors and not hushing up about this . I have also suggested the state take a look at videos ( I sent in mine) with my grandson pleading with me to keep him at my home , in distress that no one will act upon . I told the state it is important that your study group and legal team observe how this horrible and without cause law is effecting children. Kids need a voice . The law makers need to see the outcomes or at least research what can come out of it  before writing laws into effect through networking with psychologists and real situations . 

 

Thanks for reading !

GP 

 

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I'm confused. If paternity isn't established, then how could a grandparent try for visitation? It may not even be their grandchild.

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Hi again, GN! Thanks for updating us!

The image of your GS begging to stay w/ you always tugs at my heartstrings. I can only hope that this situation is resolved soon.

Edited by RoseRed135
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This sounds bigger to me than Grandparents Rights. If the child is in distress and talking of harming themselves, It sounds like Social Services needs to be involved in order to protect the child from themselves.  I don't know how this works in Grandparents Rights cases, but has the court appointed a Guardian Ad Litem for your grandchild?  I don't know that is a natural appointment outside of parental custody cases, but it would seem to me that having a legal entity that is there strictly for the child and their interests would be helpful. They would be able to intervene if the child is in danger. Additionally, regardless of the type of harm the child may be facing, having an adult with no skin in the game except the child's best interest would benefit everyone. 

For clarification - are you saying the child threatens harming themselves if they don't get to see you (and have not actually done anything) or are they actively engaging in some form of harm currently? 

It breaks my heart that any child is out there suffering. I do have to echo Imp's question though. If paternity is not established how can Grandparents Rights be established in the absence? What legal recourse do you have if paternity has not established that you are the grandparent. I'm not trying to be confrontational, and I don't believe Imp is either, I think it is more wrapping our heads around how the courts could possibly even consider granting Grandparents visitation if it has not been established that you are their grandparent? Are you strictly referencing the new verbiage for the law? Or are you speaking personally?

 

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If Grandnonna's grandchild belongs to her daughter but her daughter left the child with another who purposely didn't file (to prevent petition) but is the child's parent- That's what I got out of what Grandnonna expressed- If there's no proof the child belongs to who her daughter left the child with, how could they be petitioned?

I've no idea ..

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Say dad's name wasn't on the birth certificate, but mom left the baby with him anyways-

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3 hours ago, Komorebi said:

If Grandnonna's grandchild belongs to her daughter but her daughter left the child with another who purposely didn't file (to prevent petition) but is the child's parent- That's what I got out of what Grandnonna expressed- If there's no proof the child belongs to who her daughter left the child with, how could they be petitioned?

I've no idea ..

The problem is, the law isn't just for Grandnonna, it's for everyone.

And with the Supreme Court deciding Troxel v Granville, I'm not 100% sure that some of what is being proposed wouldn't be in contradiction of that ruling.

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3 hours ago, BlueEyedGirl said:

This sounds bigger to me than Grandparents Rights. If the child is in distress and talking of harming themselves, It sounds like Social Services needs to be involved in order to protect the child from themselves.  I don't know how this works in Grandparents Rights cases, but has the court appointed a Guardian Ad Litem for your grandchild?  I don't know that is a natural appointment outside of parental custody cases, but it would seem to me that having a legal entity that is there strictly for the child and their interests would be helpful. They would be able to intervene if the child is in danger. Additionally, regardless of the type of harm the child may be facing, having an adult with no skin in the game except the child's best interest would benefit everyone. 

For clarification - are you saying the child threatens harming themselves if they don't get to see you (and have not actually done anything) or are they actively engaging in some form of harm currently? 

It breaks my heart that any child is out there suffering. I do have to echo Imp's question though. If paternity is not established how can Grandparents Rights be established in the absence? What legal recourse do you have if paternity has not established that you are the grandparent. I'm not trying to be confrontational, and I don't believe Imp is either, I think it is more wrapping our heads around how the courts could possibly even consider granting Grandparents visitation if it has not been established that you are their grandparent? Are you strictly referencing the new verbiage for the law? Or are you speaking personally?

 

I think the current law says that the grandparent has to prove that the child will be harmed, physically or emotionally, by not getting visitation w/the grandparents.

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16 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

The problem is, the law isn't just for Grandnonna, it's for everyone.

And with the Supreme Court deciding Troxel v Granville, I'm not 100% sure that some of what is being proposed wouldn't be in contradiction of that ruling.

I have no idea, honestly- It just seems that if a grandparent has the right to petition a parent for visitation, but the child was left with someone who is the undocumented parent of the child, a grandparent couldn't petition- That's the thought I was putting forward-

Otherwise, I know someone in another state who petitioned the mother of her grandson for visitation- She looked at it as a formal way of asking the mother for visitation and to show her level of interest and that it would be documented that effort was made on her part- That was it- She expressed a formal interest, then dropped the rope, no waiting or badgering and got on with her life- Eventually the mom made contact- Now she sees her grandson regularly-

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1 minute ago, Komorebi said:

I have no idea, honestly- It just seems that if a grandparent has the right to petition a parent for visitation, but the child was left with someone who is the undocumented parent of the child, a grandparent couldn't petition- That's the thought I was putting forward-

Otherwise, I know someone in another state who petitioned the mother of her grandson for visitation- She looked at it as a formal way of asking the mother for visitation and to show her level of interest and that it would be documented that effort was made on her part- That was it- She expressed a formal interest, then dropped the rope, no waiting or badgering and got on with her life- Eventually the mom made contact- Now she sees her grandson regularly-

That's why I'm concerned about the clarity of the wording.

If paternity isn't required to be established, then it opens the door to a huge potential mess. Anyone could claim that they're grandparents, not have to establish actual relationship, and demand access to someone's child on that basis.

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1 hour ago, ImpishMom said:

I think the current law says that the grandparent has to prove that the child will be harmed, physically or emotionally, by not getting visitation w/the grandparents.

Yeah, I was a bit confused by the wording - as to whether it is the child we are talking about or the law changes.

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I imagine a grandparent has to prove the child is their grandchild -- to some degree- If the person that their grandchild has been left with refuses to prove/claim they are the parent, then how could they claim parental rights?

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13 minutes ago, Komorebi said:

I imagine a grandparent has to prove the child is their grandchild -- to some degree- If the person that their grandchild has been left with refuses to prove/claim they are the parent, then how could they claim parental rights?

Which is exactly why I'm confused about what's being proposed.

To *me*, when reading it, it seems as though if a guy didn't sign the birth certificate, refused to acknowledge paternity, his parents could still go for grandparent rights. Which makes 0 sense to me, since they guy could be right, it may not be his child. Or, to go a step further, he says it's not his baby, SHE says it's not his baby, but the grandparents think it is anyways, and go for visitation.

It happens. When I was in my early 20s, I know a family in exactly that situation.  The mom was a billion percent sure that the ex GF had her grandson, and nothing that her son, nor the ex GF could say would convince her otherwise.

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21 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

Which is exactly why I'm confused about what's being proposed.

To *me*, when reading it, it seems as though if a guy didn't sign the birth certificate, refused to acknowledge paternity, his parents could still go for grandparent rights. Which makes 0 sense to me, since they guy could be right, it may not be his child. Or, to go a step further, he says it's not his baby, SHE says it's not his baby, but the grandparents think it is anyways, and go for visitation.

It happens. When I was in my early 20s, I know a family in exactly that situation.  The mom was a billion percent sure that the ex GF had her grandson, and nothing that her son, nor the ex GF could say would convince her otherwise.

If all the burden of proof is on the grandparent, I'm guessing a grandparent has to prove that they are the grandparent when they petition, too?  

The mom you mentioned that "thought" she was a bazillion percent correct would have to prove the child was her grandchild before a court, no? Otherwise, anyone could petition anyone for visitation rights?! No? That would be crazy .. !

 

 

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1 hour ago, Komorebi said:

If all the burden of proof is on the grandparent, I'm guessing a grandparent has to prove that they are the grandparent when they petition, too?  

The mom you mentioned that "thought" she was a bazillion percent correct would have to prove the child was her grandchild before a court, no? Otherwise, anyone could petition anyone for visitation rights?! No? That would be crazy .. !

 

 

Well, that's what I'm asking about. If the father hasn't established paternity, how the heck could his parents attempt GPR? From what Grandnonna is saying, it takes out the part of proving paternity, which is where my bafflement comes in.

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Just to make sure we're all on the same page, GN is the maternal GM, not the paternal GM. That's why I've never fully understood why the paternity issue applied to her.

I don't see how it would make any difference that GS is living w/ the dad. Since GN is the MGM, I don't see how whether or not he established paternity impacts her.

But, on second though, Komo may have a point. It's not just that GS is living w/ his dad, it's that the mom, apparently, left him w/ the dad - and she can't be located (if I recall correctly). So w/o the mom, perhaps a judge would say, in effect, "How do I know this woman is the child's GM?" (I'm not sure that has to do w/ establishing paternity though.)

ETA: But mom did show up for some court dates, so IDK if/how that factors in.

Every summary I read of Illinois GVR law suggests that this rule applies only to PGPs, including the one given by GP.com:

https://www.grandparents.com/family-and-relationships/grandparents-rights/grandparent-rights-united-states

More specifically, they say (italics mine):

A court may not allow visitation to a paternal grandparent if the grandchild was born out of wedlock and paternity has not been established

Like Imp, I don't see how the law could be changed so that (alleged) PGPs could just be awarded visitation, even though there was no legal proof that their son was the dad. If something in that section of the law is going to be changed, I don't see how it could be the part about needing to prove paternity.

But again, @GrandNonna I don't mean to criticize or be difficult, but since you're the MGM, I don't see what this part of the law has to do w/ you nor why you're so enthusiastic about its possible changing.

 

Edited by RoseRed135
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Ok, I googled the law as it stands now (perhaps some of you have, too):

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K602.9.htm

I'm no legal expert, but, I admit, some of the language about proving paternity (or "parentage") sounds confusing to me. For example, in one place, it says that GPs (or step-parents or siblings) can petition the court for visitation if, among other things:

parentage has been established by a court of competent jurisdiction.

That may just be "legaleese," but it sounds to me as if it could apply to either parent - and impact any GP, etc., regardless of which side of the family they are on.

Granted, further on, it says, more specifically:

A petition for visitation privileges may not be filed by the parents... of a parent of the child if parentage between the child and the related parent has not been legally established.

That seems to me to make it a little clearer that, say, the standing of a MGP would not be affected by whether or not the dad established paternity. So I'm still not clear on what lawmakers are thinking of changing.

 
     
 
Edited by RoseRed135
to fill out a quote and add a couple of thoughts
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About "burden of proof." I don't see how that would be changed either? Would they just allow a GP to say their GC was being "harmed?"

I do see that there's a list of criteria under the burden of proof clause. Maybe they're going to reword some of that?... Just trying to understand...

@BlueEyedGirl -  I don't see where it says that GS is "talking of harming (himself)" - just where he was "pleading" to stay w/ GN and was "in distress." Did I miss something?

Edited by RoseRed135

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I've been gone a long time, so perhaps I need to search GN's other posts to get myself up to date. Can someone share why GC is living with Dad? Was mom (sorry for the word usage) 'unfit' or did she sign away her parental rights? Otherwise, my first assumption is that any Grandparents Visitation is on the mom's time with the child first. If dad has custody and mom is NOT utilizing her parental visitation, is there a reason for that?  Has mom completely left the picture and it is DAD that isn't allowing GN to visit grandchild? 

 

Is GN's current original post strictly in regards to new information about the law and not directly related to her own situation?

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I think what Grandnonna is saying is that she hopes the wording regarding paternity will reflect what it once meant back in 2014 where if a parent didnt establish that they were the parent a grandparent could petition- Perhaps if the parent doesnt make such a claim they cant exercise parental rights and deny visitation, also if they dont a grandparent could petition- I dont know- But if lawmakers are considering revisiting the issue perhaps theres good reason, like the wording didnt work towards whats in the best interest of the children-

 

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If a father wasn't ever named, but the PGP had to prove their connection to said child could their son then be held responsible for paying child support?  This could open a new can of worms. 

What if the son had already signed away his parental rights?  Would a PGP still be able to claim GPVR?

Edited by SueSTx

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I think IF the father isn't on the birth certificate, for whatever reason - he's legally not the father and his parents are not GPs. Single (out of wedlock) or married people can have issues, paternity is not necessarily known (affairs, sperm donor, etc).

None of this is cut and dried, no matter the marital status. I've known people to give up their rights, willingly. I've known men who thought they were the dad (married to the mom) - find out they weren't on the birth certificate. And men on the birth certificate find out they weren't the father. The mom? Obvious. The dad? DNA.

"A fit parent would normally file for legal parentage. Some parents won't if they know that by doing so, allows a grandparent right to petition".  I don't think either of those assertions are necessarily always true.
 
Some fit parents don't know what to do in paternity fights - they stick their head in the sand. eta: good or bad, it happens.
 
 
Edited by JanelleK

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2 hours ago, SueSTx said:

If a father wasn't ever named, but the PGP had to prove their connection to said child could their son then be held responsible for paying child support?  This could open a new can of worms. 

What if the son had already signed away his parental rights?  Would a PGP still be able to claim GPVR?

According to GP.com's summary of Illinois' GVR law:

Grandparents lose the right to visitation if parental rights to a child are terminated

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13 hours ago, BlueEyedGirl said:

I've been gone a long time, so perhaps I need to search GN's other posts to get myself up to date. Can someone share why GC is living with Dad? Was mom (sorry for the word usage) 'unfit' or did she sign away her parental rights? Otherwise, my first assumption is that any Grandparents Visitation is on the mom's time with the child first. If dad has custody and mom is NOT utilizing her parental visitation, is there a reason for that?  Has mom completely left the picture and it is DAD that isn't allowing GN to visit grandchild? 

 

Is GN's current original post strictly in regards to new information about the law and not directly related to her own situation?

BEG, GN has been posting on these boards on and off, both in the blogs and the forums, since about 2012. And her struggles w/ DD and family have gone on longer than that. Tensions began, as I recall, due to GN's concern over what she saw as an "unsavory" (my word) friend of DD being around baby GS, as well as issues between GN and the dad (who was rude to her, etc.).

Eventually, DD had another child - GD - w/ a different man. For a while, if I recall correctly, she lived w/ him and the 2 kids, but then, she took the kids and went back to GS' dad. Then, at one point, from what I remember, as well as from looking over some of GN's old posts, DD left GS w/ his apparent dad, while she went off w/ her baby girl/GD to live on a farm somewhere.

Currently, as far as I can tell, GS lives w/ his dad; GD lives w/ her dad and his new DW. GN has been pursuing visitation w/ both kids though this thread only refers to GS. (GN have you dropped GD from the case?) As I said in an earlier post, GN does not know where DD is living and, according to GN, she refused to give her address to the court. But obviously, she did show up there.

Through all this, sometimes GN has, apparently, been very involved, as when DD and GS lived w/ her for several months after he was born. Other times, her visits were limited or non-existent (as they are now).

Since GS lives w/ his dad, most recently, if I understand correctly, he has been the one denying GN visitation. But the mom/her DD, apparently, has made clear that she doesn't want GN to see GS either. Similar situation regarding GD.

Regardless, the children's living situation has not been very stable, to say the least. But GN has filed for visitation and lost at least twice (or is it 3 times)?

@GrandNonna - Have I got all this right? Please correct me wherever I'm wrong and fill in anything significant that I forgot. Thank you. :)

 

Edited by RoseRed135
clarity

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21 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

I'm confused. If paternity isn't established, then how could a grandparent try for visitation? It may not even be their grandchild.

Hello Impish ,

Beings that I am the "Maternal Grandmother " it makes it pretty simple as my daughter has a child and I am her mother. In 2015 , it allowed us to petition the courts if paternity hasn't been established based on her being my adult daughter . But now even though it is reversed , I wrote to our general assembly and said it made no sense to consider a putitive father a fit parent ordering maternal or paternal grandparents around cutting us all off and bypassing the legal system . I think in a paternal situation where the fathers grandparents have asked for visitation would and should be denied basked on the status of the lack of paternity and not knowing if the child is a true biological match .  

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